December 30, 2010

Last Minute Mixer: St. Germain Cocktail

We've showed you the best budget bubblies, taught you how to uncork them right and even offered up some delicious pairing apps... but we're not done yet! In the name of "last minute" planning (which is where my own life is at right this minute) check out this NYE Mixer for a St. Germain Cocktail:

2 parts Brut Champagne (or other sparkling wine)
1/5 parts St. Germain
2 parts Sparkling Water or Club Soda

Stir Ingredients in a tall ice-filled Collins glass, mixing completley. Garnish with a lemon twist.

December 29, 2010

2011 Brings "Pairing Party Mondays"... and Proscuitto Wrapped Pears!

We love to throw a good party, but we also know how stressful and tiring hosting can be. There's so much to plan, so much to clean, so much to cook and so much to pair... though those latter parts are where we can help!

That's why we're kicking off a new series in the new year called "Pairing Party Mondays," where we'll team up with some of your favorite food bloggers to introduce you to the best of both worlds - cooking and wine pairing.

And even though its not technically Monday (or 2011 for that matter), we're anxious to get things started. Afterall, New Year's Eve is rapidly on the move and we're sure many of you may be hosting parties and likely have not even thought to plan your menus! Well, fear not our little Boulud's... Lisa Matthias of "The Novice Nosher" has prepared a delightful and easy-to-make Proscuitto Wrapped Pears that boast elegance without hindering your time or budget.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears
• 2 pears (use Bosc or Bartlett)
• 1 packages thinly sliced prosciutto

Slice the pears around the core so that you have about 4 pieces, then slice those in half. Cut or split the prosciutto in half with your hands. Wrap each slice of prosciutto around each piece of pear; the prosciutto will overlap, just place them overlap-side down on the plate and arrange to your liking.

Winobee Says: Cured meats, like proscuitto, often have a intense characteristics, and when matched with the fruitfullness of pear, provides a fragrant, delicate, sweet and balanced flavor. Your wine should match these characteristics. Try pairing with a dry sparkler, like Ferrari, from the Trentino region of northern Italy.

Tasting Notes: This bubbly is made from 100% Chardonnay and has a finesse all its own. Its ultra dry texture leaves a long finish on the tongue, but balances with fruity flavors like apple and pear that piggyback off this particular dish.

Cost: $16.99/bottle
Where to Buy: J.J. Buckley Fine Wines

Food + Libations... now, you can ring in 2011 with ease! For more fun food recipes, visit The Novice Nosher!

December 28, 2010

Budget Bubblies for New Year's Eve

Let's be honest, the lingering question of what to sip at midnight leaves many of us notoriously reaching for the finest of French bubbly simply for the fact its "tradition." But enjoying the holiday hoopla in style doesn't mean having to break the bank (I mean, aren't many of our resolutions to "save" in the new year?) Check out some of our fun, flirty and frugal suggestions on kicking off 2011 in style, featured yesterday on Redbook!

Verdi Spumante
Best value wine offering a delicious sparkle and zest accompanied by a soft, fruit-forward flavor.

Cost: $4.99/bottle

Where to Buy: BevMo

Mionetto "Il" Prosecco

Combines notes of citrus, pear and floral with a light effervescence that doesn't overpower the palate. Simply sip as-is or whip up a cocktail using vodka, triple sec and pineapple juice. You'll love the versatility!

Cost: $9/bottle

Where To Buy:

Pommery POP

Unravel the bubbles of this uncomplicated champagne in a perfect, party-portable size. These 187mL bottles are great for individual consumption (who wants to share anyway?) Simply pack a few in your cooler, grab a straw and bypass the flutes!

Cost: $9.99/bottle

Where to Buy: 67Wine

Banfi Rosa Regale

Softer than champagne, this light wine is made of brachetto and blends rose and raspberry aroma notes with a sweet, appealing touch of berry on the palate. It's a perfect option to bypass dessert for at your dinner party or to toast with at midnight!

Cost: $19.99/bottle

Where To Buy: BevMo

Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad Brut Cava

This brut cava adds elegance to any soiree. It's thick Absinthe-green glass and emblazoned solid pewter crest is enough to catch the eye, but the blend of Macabeo, Parellada and Zarello grapes within offer a satisfying fruit intensity and perfumed bouquet.

Cost: $23/bottle

Where to Buy:

December 27, 2010

Uncork Your New Year Right!

Christmas is over, so who's ready to pop the cork on a bottle (or two) of bubbly later this week? Me! To get the best out of that bottle, here are a few tips on where to buy, what to serve and how to mix so you can uncork your new year right. The only thing left will be to pop n' pour!

  • CALCULATE: A (750 ml) bottle of bubbly will pour approximately six glasses. You should plan on one and a half to two glasses per person, per hour. For a toast— one glass per person usually suffices.
  • BUY: It’s best to buy wines in stores with a high turnover. Bottles could be on retailers’ shelves for months and could get overheated.
  • BRING: Bringing a bottle of bubbly is a wonderful way to say thank you to your host if you are a guest. Stick it in a festive bag and you’re ready to roll!
  • CHILL: It’s recommended to chill your bubbly well — either in a refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours or in an ice bucket for about 30 minutes. For a quick fix you can cool it in the freezer for 30 minutes as well.
  • SERVE: The recommended glass for sparkling wine is the flute. The flute is tall and elongated, and perfect for young wines.
  • POUR: A glass of bubbly should never be poured more than half full. This insures that it does not get too warm sitting in your glass and the head space gives you room to appreciate it.

Check back tomorrow for our top budget bubblies to ring in the new year right!

December 21, 2010

Holiday Libations: Sparkling Ginger Daisy PUNCH

Tis’ the season for delicious libations, which can often lead to excess calories. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes its fun to have little good binge with all things delicious! But if your anything like me, you're probably attending countless holiday soirees where those food and drinks can easily add to your waistline. So why not make a few more conscious decisions to avoid having to crash diet at the new year?

Word to the wise, bypass the heavy eggnog and serve something fun and festive that doesn't mean having to load up on lots of calories. Opt for a delicious sparkling wine cocktail, like this Sparkling Ginger Daisy PUNCH, which bypasses high quantities of fruit juices that can contain a considerable amount of unnecessary sugar. It's perfect for entertaining and will inspire guests to help themselves without the excess guilt.

Sparkling Ginger Daisy PUNCH (serves 8)

In a large punchbowl, stir together gin, ginger liqueur, lemon juice, and grenadine. Add large chunks of ice to keep everything chilled. Add the Mionetto, and stir again.

Serve with a ladle, and consider keeping a bowl of sliced ginger next to the punchbowl for guests to garnish their own drinks versus rimming individual glasses with unneeded sugar.

ADDITIONAL TIP: If you're looking to cut calories even further, try diluting the required amount of lemon juice with 50% water.

December 17, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Albarino Wine

It's officially the week of Christmas and today we "wrap" our 12 Days of Wino with with the most perfect gift for the hostess with the mostess!

Redbook Magazine listed gifting a bottle of booze as the #1 last minute holiday gift idea and we couldn't agree more! So why not break the tradition of traditional whites, like Pinot Grigio andChardonnay, and pick up a food-friendly Albarino, an aromatic white wine that shows the perfect token of gratitude for hosts of this year's festive soirees.

Quickly growing in popularity, Spain's Albarino is easy to drink and pairs well with the holidays most beloved dishes. The wine is rich and expressive, with peach and apricot notes, crisp and refreshing with intense fruit flavors, including a blend of granny apples and citrus.

Cost: $12.99/bottle
Where to Buy:

12 Days of Wino: Vac U Vin

The clock is ticking and you officially have just over a week to finish up all your holiday shopping. And if you're anything like me, you likely come home from the hustle and bustle of it all to relax with a glass of vino.

But being the fabulous single gal I am, there's no way I'm consuming an entire bottle to my seemingly-drunken lonesome self (well, at least not this week) so rather than re-cork my wine, where it'll likely quickly spoil, I've opted for this [wine] lifesaver.

The Vac U Vin Wine Saver is the easiest, most afforable way to preserve opened wines. Its unique pump design allows you to remove air (and oxygen that spoils wine) and also offers a vaccum indicator which emits a click sound when the correct vaccum point is reach. It seriously helps save bottles upon bottles and will forever change your life... but, seriously!

Cost: $13.99 - $29.99 (depending on style purchased)
Where to Buy:

December 16, 2010

12 Days of Wino: La Fiole du Pape

If you're in the market for something original, grab this La Fiole du Pape, which comes in a uniquely shaped bottled coated with cellar dust, and boasting "vintage" (even though its made from non-vintage Chateauneuf-du-Pape, a blend of cuvees from different vintages).

Its a high quality wine that blends grenache, syrah, mourvedre and cinsault grapes thus inspiring an array of characteristics with every sip -- colorful to the eye, complex to the nose, and moderately tannic on the palate but with an overall finesse thats perfect for holiday gatherings!

Cost: $45/bottle (but you can get it cheaper online!)
Where to Buy:
Suggested Pairing: Red meats and heavy cheeses

December 13, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Chocolate Wine

If you're anything like us, you can be easily seduced with a little wine or chocolate, and lucky for us all Opici Wines just introduced this blend of velvety-smoth chocolate flavors and luscious grape wine called Cocoa di Vine. It's the perfect way to indulge this holiday season and allow you to kiss your inhibitions goodbye since this sinful decadence (which is must like a drunken man's YooHoo) offers a rich chocolate taste and silky finish.

Cost: $10.99/bottle

How to Drink: Try it like we do and serve in an apertif glass with a drizzle of chocolate syrup atop.

December 10, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Ravi Wine Chiller

If you're like us, chances are you're probably guilty of drinking a wine or two at the wrong temperature a few times in our life. That's why when we saw this new Ravi on "The View" we knew it had to go on Santa's "nice list." Why's it so great? It enables wines to go from room temperature to that of a cellar, maintaining the wine's characteristics and without altering taste.

Cost: $39.99
Where to Buy:

December 9, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Picnic Sticks

I will drink it at a bar. I will drink it outside my car. I will drink it here and there. I will drink just about anywhere.

And what a perfect option for the wino-on-the-gogo than set of wine picnic sticks that help balance your wine bottles, glasses and pairing board in any outdoor setting. Just one push (or several if you're thirty) into the grass or sand and you're Bordeaux will be nicely balances and you'll be enjoying a romantical, spill-free day of wining and dining.

Cost: $49.50
Where to Buy: RedEnvelope

December 8, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Wine Monkey

Ok, I literally hyperventilated in laughter when I discovered this fun little piece of barware likely because of the running jokes my sister and I have about monkeys, but nonetheless...

This Wine Caddy Cover means monkey business, literally! The nostalgic icon is a perfect option for presenting your holiday hostess with a bottle of red, white, rose or even chimp-agne (ok, we had to!).

Cost: $10 each
Where to Buy: Swirl

December 7, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Mionetto "Il" Prosecco

Prosecco has become popular with drinkers for its straight forwardness and sophistication, so why not wrap "all that" up in a bow and share as a gift with your party hostess? Mionetto "Il" Prosecco is not only a great value option, it offers a light, clean finish with a hint of citrus, pear and even floral.

We love this wine for its versatility - its perfect to drink as an apertif or if you're looking to be a bit more bold, whipping up a cocktail using vodka, triple sec and pineapple juice.

The motive behind this gift? If you're lucky, you're hostess will serve you your own pick during their party - wink, wink!

Cost: $9.99/bottle
Where to Buy: Garnet Wines

December 6, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Custom Glasses from Studio 50

Last February we introduced you to Eye Kandy (now Studio 50), a small at-home company based in Florida where artist Kimberly Cass produces custom designed, monogramed, name and dated glassware. Kimberly hooked me up with the most adorable WinoBee glass (you likely see it in many of my pics, like the one here on the right) so I had to include her amazing work within our "12 Days of Wino."

Now, if you're going to drink, you better drink in style. Add some flare to your stemware with the custom design, colors, themes, images and copy you want painted on. Here are a few great thoughts we have for your special gift:
  • Paint the bottom of the glass a solid color and include a name in a bright color atop. Adding personalization to your gift makes it that much more special to your recipient. It's also great because it alleviates the need for wine charms... they'll always know which glass is theres!
  • For the perfect wino couple, custom monogram the glasses and pair with their favorite type of wine.
  • For sassy winos, create a themed glass based on your recipients favorite activity, like talking, shopping or playing sports. Spruce it up with feather boa strips or charms and pair with a sassy bottle of wine that matches your theme, like Bitch Wine or Purple Cowboy (they may not be the best tasting, but they make the overall package super fun).
Cost: $12.50/glass or $13.50 (custom)
Where to Buy: Studio 50

GIVEAWAY -- We want to give you the opportunity to gift someone special (or yourself) with a little flare this holiday season. Leave a comment on this post telling us what type of wine you'll be toting to your festivities and you could win this super jazzy, eco-friendly tote designed by Studio 50 to lug your booze in (value $15).

Open to US residents only. Winner will be selected on December 13, 2010 and product will be mailed directly following information is obtained. Please accompany your comment with appropriate email address for follow-up should you win. Good luck!
Other: Delivery to all U.S. States available. All glasses are insured against breakage.

December 3, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Dom Perignon

Every once and a while we like to extend beyond being just a little lavish, and like to get a little ridiculous. And as we were combing through our quarterly Crush catalog, something popped to our eye -- colors... iconic colors... and lots of them.

C'mon, who hasn't purchased a bottle of wine or two solely based on what the label looked like? We're all guilty! And we're suckers for anything artistic, so when we learned the one-and-only Dom Perignon was doing a special tribute collection to Andy Warhol, we flipped!

Dom Perignon and the Design Laboratory at Central Saint Martin's School of Art & Design reinterpreted the bottle by altering the label with red, blue any yellow paying homage to Warhol's iconic color games.

This exclusive collection of three bottles was inspired by a March diary entry in which Warhol wrote, "Went to the gallery where they were having a little exhibition of the glittery shoes, and had to do interview and pics for the German newspaper and then we had to go back to the hotel and be picked up by '2,000' people -- its a club of twenty guys who got togetehr and theyr've going to buy 2,000 of Dom Perignon which they will put in a sealed room until the year 2000 and then open it up and drink it and so the running joke is who will be around and who won't."

Check out this video to see more:

Cost: $159/bottle
Where to Buy: Crush

December 2, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Wines That Rock

The holidays are the perfect time to rock out with your cock(tail) out, and what better way to do so than with wines that rock... no, literally!

New Wines That Rock are inspired by the music of The Police, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Woodstock, and they make the perfect stocking stuffers whether you buy wines for their taste or because they have wicked cool labels.

Made by Mendocino Wine Co., Wines That Rock capture the quality and spirit of rock n' roll mythology in a portfolio of great tasting wines, iconic album art for labels, earth friendly production and great consumer value. You can choose from these 2009 rockin' options:
Cost: $16.99/bottle -or- 4 bottle pack for $69
Where To Buy: Wines That Rock (and select retail locations nationwide!)

December 1, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Touchscreen Wine Refrigerator

It's officially December and the clock is ticking to get our stockings stuffed and gifts wrapped. Today we kick off our annual "12 Days of Wino" - a guide to all the hottest holiday must-haves for winos and wino wannabe's alike!

And what better way to do so than with state-of-the-art technology. Check out this new digital touchscreen fridge from The Sharper Image. It holds up to 12 bottles of your fav vino and offers a thermopane glass door with reflective finish that protects your wines from damaging light. The best part, its small enough to store on your countertop! Perfect for the beginner wino or connoisseur in your life.

Cost: $169.99
Where to Buy: The Sharper Image (or if you're feeling like bigger is better, check out this similar 18 bottle touch-screen from Wine Enthusiast for $249.95)

November 30, 2010

Bottles Away!

By now, our stomachs are likely back to their normal pre-gorged sizes (and we're hoping that means your Thanksgiving was just as de-lush-ious as ours). The challenging part? It's time to get ready to do it all over again.

With the turkey is off the table, its time to start thinking about this "seasons greetings." After all, Hanukkah kicks off tomorrow and Santa makes his way to town in just 4 weeks!

WinoBee is currently compiling our annual "Naughty & Nice" list for winos and wino wannabes, so keep your eyes peeled on all the fun yet to come. In the meantime, we uncovered this fun little game to gear you up for holiday entertaining - it also will put your wine buying skills to the test.

The Bordeaux Wine Council wants to help you find affordable selections for your holiday festivities and in turn created a Facebook game called "Bottles Away" which challenges players to pick six wines from shelves in 60 seconds that add up to $100 or less. At the end of the sixty seconds, the player is given the names and availability of the wines they have selected. Demo the game and test your skills here!

But wine buying isn't all fun and games. After all, we do want to actually drink wine at our holiday parties, which is why Bordeaux asked their wine buffs for their favorite bottles under $100 this season. If you're in the market, click here.

November 22, 2010

Turkey Time Wines - Gobble, Gobble!

Like us, we're sure you're gearing up for wearing your "Fat Kid" pants this Thursday! I know, I know... we're enablers. But we like to think that during the holiday season gorging is a socially acceptable activity. That's why we want to ensure we shared our top vinos to pair with your feast-ivus maximus! Gobble, gobble kids!

What To Drink While Slaving Over the Stove

Mionetto Prosecco Brut

Light, refreshing and clean with just a hint of citrus and fruit, this wine won’t overpower the palate for the feast to come. Simply sip before your dinner or whip up as prosecco cocktail using vodka, triple sec and pineapple juice if you’re feeling bold!

Cost: $13/bottle

Think (and Drink!) “Inside the Box”

Duca del Frassino White

Boxed wines are steadily making a comeback not solely because they use more environmentally-friendly packaging, are a bargain buy or because they have a longer shelf life after opening, but rather because they actually taste good. This new, easy-to-drink wine, made of a blend of Pinot Grigio and Garganega grapes, offers a hint of white flowers on the nose, a crisp citrus taste and a juicy finish making it a perfect pair for lighter dishes like this Pear and Gorgonzola Salad. It also makes a stellar base for sangria!

Cost: $19.99/box

Load Up on Autumn in a Glass

St. Supery Barrel Fermented Chardonnay

Sustainably farmed, this wine bodes aromas of toast and cantaloupe with flavors that are reminiscent of baked apple pie (a Turkey Day must), ripe pears and a hint of spice. If you’re looking for a truly autumn experience, try this wine with Roasted Yams with Maple-Ginger Butter.

Cost: $30/bottle

A Wine to “Gobble” Down On

Sebastiani Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

This beautifully crimson wine offers intense dark fruit flavor, a rich aroma and silky finish. The undertones of red plum, black cherry and spice tend to show well with the traditional flavors of turkey and stuffing, so pair it up with Roast Turkey with Rich Pan Gravy!

Cost: $28/bottle

Skip the Pie, But Go Straight For Dessert (Wine)

Banfi Rosa Regale

A light effervescent wine (softer than champagne) that blends rose and raspberry on the nose, and a sweet, appealing touch of berry on the palate. If you’re feeling too full from dinner, opt for a glass of this as dessert.

Cost: $25/bottle

The Ultimate Turkey Day Tradition

Georges Dubeauf Beaujolais Nouveau

The tasting of each year's Beaujolais Nouveau is a tradition to be had by all. Only released the third Thursday of every November, just one week before we carve our turkeys, this wine, which is made of 100% Gamay grapes, is young, vivacious and ultimately fruit-forward. Its versatility complements many dishes and can be the ideal accompaniment to all your holiday entertaining… and even all those leftovers!

Cost: $9.99/bottle

November 18, 2010

Happy Beaujolais Day!

The ultimate Turkey Day tradition is upon us... its Beaujolais Day!! The tasting of each year's Beaujolais Nouveau is a
tradition to be had by all. Only released the third Thursday of every November, just one week before we carve our turkeys, this wine, which is made of 100% Gamay grapes, is young, vivacious and ultimately fruit-forward. Its versatility complements many dishes and can be the ideal accompaniment to all your holiday entertaining… and even all those leftovers!

Let's just say, I'll be heading to the wine store today to grab a little Georges Dubeauf!

Cost: $9.99/bottle
Where to Buy: 67Wines

November 17, 2010

Green & Black's - Part II: Pairings

What most people may find interesting (myself included) is that although wine and chocolate seem like a match made in foodie heaven, they are actually one of the most difficult types of pairings. This is primarily because of the acidity levels in both items. So with anything, you want to ensure their is a harmonious balance.

Last night we had the chance to pick the brain of former wino-gone-chocoholic (and Head of Taste for Green & Black's) Micah Carr-Hill about why he recommends pairing chocolates with dessert wines vs. more everyday offerings. Here's what he had to say:

On the menu at last night's event, Car-Hill brought this to life with robust pairings that even had me shocked:

Doiy Vedrines, (Barsac), 2007
NOTES: Bright straw yellow color. Noble rot fruit and honey on nose. Very concentrated sugars, but a nice blend of sweet and acidity. Changes the taste of the white chocolate bringing to life vanilla and carmel flavors.

Peanut & Sea Salt
Trimbach, Gewurztraminer "Vendages Tardives," 2000
NOTES: Late harvest. Straw yellow color. Combination of grapefruit and rose on the nose. Peach blended with red raspberry on the palate. Paired well with salt from peanuts in the chocolate. Peanuts were whole and offered more robust taste - roasted, carmelized flavors.

Sandeman, "Royal Corregidor" Rare Sherry (aged 20 years)
NOTES: Light brown color with slight merigold hue. Offered a dryness with underlying sweetness. Buttery end when paired with almond and chocolate combination.

Rare Wine Company (Vinhos Barbieto), Madeira "New York Malmsey"
NOTES: Light brown color. Some scents of chocolate on the nose but also an undertone of citrus, particularly orange and lemon. Balanced nice with the acid and sour in the cherries of the chocolate.

Dark 70%
Domain de la Casa Blanca, Banyuls, 2008
NOTES: Made primarily of granache (which is often said to be best with chocolate pairings). Dark garnet color. Blend of red fruits and blackberry on the nose. Berry fruits and plums on the palate.

Dark 85%
Bodega Renacer, "Enamore," 2008
NOTES: Dark garnet color. Earthy notes on the nose with a hint of raisin. Full bodied experience with lots of dark, dried fruits on the palate.

November 16, 2010

Green & Black's: Part I - From Bean to Bar

If wine and chocolate were "raindrops on roses" they would both be considered a few of my favorite things. No, actually they are my raindrops and always rank #1 and #1.5 in the "WinoBee Book of Likes." So naturally when I was approached by the folks at Green & Black's to attend an event that incorporated both of these things, my head immediately nodded up and down.

Now, my long-standing affair for Green & Black's is no secret. Hell, some may consider my obession of 70% bars a slight addiction. I stick them in my fridge and must have a piece every night post-dinner. Its sort of become a ritual and I'm not one to mess with tradition!!

But the reason I like Green & Black's isn't solely because of the quality ingredients and intense, bittersweet experience their chocolates inspire, but rather because of all the socially conscious work they do alongside. These chocolates really do offer a true "bean to bar" story and G&B's Head of Taste, Micah Carr-Hill told us a little more about it (as well as his reccos for wine pairings which we'll feature tomorrow). Take a look:

Winner, winner - chicken dinner! It's time for me to share my love of Green & Black's with you. Enter to win this "Chocoholic's Dream Bag" by doing the following:

1) Leave a comment here about what G&B chocolate you're craving right now. Please also leave your email address as a means of contact should you be our lucky winner.
2) Tweet @WinoBee with your craving and a link to this post.
3) Follow us on Facebook and leave a comment with your craving.

One entry per person per platform is permitted. Winner will be randomly selected Monday, November 22, 2010. U.S. based winners only (sorry!) Good luck!

November 15, 2010

2009 Re Midas Corvina

Some may say I'm a compulsive spender, and hell, the world seems to now cater to my "habit" with impulse sites like Rue La La and Gilt Group (which ironically now have wine deals much like our friends over at Wine Woot).

But the fact of the matter is that despite my "consumption issues" I'm a huge advocate of bargain shopping, so its no wonder I get excited when I find a wine bottle that was a diamond in the rough but on my type of budget.

We introduced you to Re Midas a few weeks ago, a range of indigenous wines from the Veneto region of Italy (compliments of Cantina di Soave) that are both well-priced and easy to drink. We loved their
Re Midas Soave so much, that we knew we needed to try their Corvina which also utilize native grapes and is a perfect option for every day enjoyment.

Re Midas' 2009 Corvina is a medium-bodied red that offers a light viscosity and light ruby color. You'll get a combination of wild flowers and citrus on the nose, but what I admired about this glass the most was its ability to begin earthy on the palate and steadily transcend into a more fruit forward wine by its finish. You'll be delighted by this wine's bing cherry and red raspberry undertones, too! Perfect for pasta or risotto nights and only

Cost: $9.99/bottle
Where to Buy: Columbus Wines
Pair With: Perfect with pasta or risotto!

November 11, 2010

Deal Buzz: Napa Valley Marriott for $109/nt!

Awesome Napa Valley Marriott deal featured on this week's Travelzoo's Top 20 if you're itching to get to wine country in the next few months. It includes a tasting stop at one of my favs, St. Supery (be sure to tell Lesley & Tina I said 'sup if you go!)

BUZZ: Message in a Bottle Sweeps from "Wines That Rock"

I was fortunate enough to receive a special collection of new, Wines That Rock (literally) last week and I'm super jazzed to try them out just in time for the holidays. By looks, I know they are going to make great stocking stuffers for winos and winobees alike (hopefully, they'll be just as gangsta in taste too - that review to come!)

Wines That Rock are inspired by the music of The Police, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Woodstock. And to celebrate the release of their new Police-inspired wine, Synchroncity (a red blend), they partnered up with Wine Enthusiast for the "Message in a Bottle" sweepstakes.

One grand prize winner and a friend will win the chance at:
  • Roundtrip airfare and transportation to the Wines That Rock winery
  • 2-night stay at the Vineyards Private Bungalow (holler!)
  • Private tour of the winery and tasting experiences with winemaker Mark Beaman
  • Bass guitar signed by Sting (holy hell!)
So, grab a glass of wine, bust out RockBand on your Wii and unleash your inner rockstar by signing up for this awesome contest!

November 10, 2010

2007 Zeca Mesa Roussanne

By now everyone knows I'm a sucker for red wine. I prefer it. I love its fuller body. I appreciate its robustness. And I adore how well it can be paired during the fall months with heavier food dishes.

But being an open-minded Winobee, I can't always discriminate against my fellow whites. In fact, I recently discovered a white wine that packed just as many as the attributes I noted above and made me start to think about white wines beyond the crisp, summer months. And I couldn't help but laugh when chatting with the folks at Zaca Mesa who described this wine as the "white wine for red wine drinkers." I knew I was on to something!

Enter a 2007 Zeca Mesa Roussanne from Santa Ynez Valley, grown sustainably in Santa Barbara County vineyard. Roussanne... not a grape variety I admit I had heard of before (I mean who thinks of white wines beyond pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay anyway?)

This assertive wine uses hand picked and whole-cluster pressed Roussanne grapes, barrel fermented in French Oak (yum) and then aged sur lie (which is thought to give it more complexity) for 10 months. The result? An intense profile of flavors and weight, but a versatility that captures every season. It pairs with so many different flavors!

The first thing that caught my eye was this wine's yellow golden color. On the nose and palate, a blend of fall fruits, like pears and figs, with an undertone of toasted nuts. There was a tangy bite at the finish, but overall this wine was nicely balanced and offered a slight minerality that makes it a great selection as we move further into November.

Cost: $25/bottle
Where to Buy: Zaca Mesa Winery Shop
Pairing: This wine has a refreshing acidity that would match well with salty foods, and a weight to stand up to rich dishes. Try it with a rosemary roast chicken or lobster risotto.

*Disclaimer: This product was sent by the winery for review. All opinions are 100% from the reviewer's of this site.

November 9, 2010

Boozeday Tuesday: Go BLUE!

It's Boozeday Tuesday... and sometimes (as much as I love wine) I need a stiff cocktail and some girl time to settle down post-madness. So what better way to kick off my evening than with a lil' Van Gogh BLUE cocktail and girly gab?

BLUEberry Lemon Drop
  • 1.5 oz Van Gogh Blue
  • 1/2 Lemon and 4 blueberries, muddled
  • Splash of Sour Mix
  • 1/4 Raspberry Liquer, sunk with 3 fresh blueberries
*For a little extra WinoBee flare, add some prosecco!

But until its the end of the work day, we'll have to settle for some mid-day virtual fun. When your boss isn't looking, log on to Facebook and become friends with Van Gogh BLUE. Click on their "Contest" tab. Once there you can fill out a cheeky "gab lib" cocktail confession story about you and your friends. Its sort of like doing those old school Mad Libs and coming up with crazy ridiculous, but hysterically funny stories. Only this time, your comic genius could land you a free party.

Yup, yup - 25 friends, a $500 AMEX giftcard and a celebrity chef in your kitchen. SOLD! This would be the perfect addition to our #WineDown parties, so you better believe I sacrificed some creative juices in the form of nouns, adjectives, verbs and even animals and body parts in efforts to win!

Contest ends December 3rd so hurry up and enter (or don't, so I have a better chance of winning!)

November 8, 2010

Buzz: Los Gatos-Saratoga Wine Trail

If you're in the California-area (or looking for a good excuse to get out there) check out the new Los Gatos-Saratoga Wine Trail in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Just 12 miles in length, the Wine Trail is inspired by a collective vision of five area wineries: Fleming Jenkins Vineyard & Winery (yes, that's Fleming, as in Peggy Fleming the former Olympic medalist - toe pick!), Testarossa Winery, Cinnabar Winery (a Wino
Bee fav), Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards and Savannah-Channelle Vineyards.

These artisan wineries produce small lots of critically acclaimed wine including cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlor, pinot noir, rose, syrah and viognier.

And just in time for the holiday season, winos alike can share in the fun of their "Happy Holidays Trail Tasting" through December 31st, featuring 2-for-1 wine tasting and 10% discounts on all wine purchases. Now, thats my kind of "happy" holiday.

November 5, 2010

Buzz: Skinner Vineyards Announces Estate Wine Program

Skinner Vineyards just announced its Estate Wine program for Syrah, Viognier, Grenache and Petite Syrah grown at the Stoney Creek Vineyard (part of their 67-acre property in El Dorado County, CA). The new 12,000 square foot solar-powered greentech winery will soon be complete - we love sustainable production!

For now, the temporary Certificate of Occupancy was granted for the crushpad and fermentation areas of the winery, which will allow Skinner Vineyards to produce wines on site beginning with this 2010 harvest season.

When asked, Owner & President Mike Skinner commented, "We are thrilled to bring our harvest to our own winery this year. The late ripening conditions this year really helped us, as we were fighting against the clock to get the crucial parts of the new winery built and inspected. As it happens, the timing work out perfectly for us."

In their Estate Wine program, you'll be able to taste roses and whites in 2011. The reds will be aged in oak before they are released in 2012 and 2013. Patience is a virtue... and we can't wait to give them a whirl!

October 27, 2010

Food & Wine Tips from Food Network's Anne Burrell

Monday night's Vinitaly at Eataly event was quite the success with over 600 registrants at the consumer tasting alone. But for Lil' Miss WinoBee and her partner-in-crime (@GlutenGossip) we wanted to make sure our experience was more than robust, so in addition to expanding our palate and having (too much) fun drinking new styles and varieties of Italian wine, we actually took some time to meet up with Food Network's Anne Burrell, host of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef to get her top food and wine tips.

Anne is notorious for her spiky blonde hair and former role as both Mario Batali's sous chef onIron Chef America, while also having worked under the likes of Lidia Bastianch. Anne also formerly taught at ICE and lucky for me, I'm scheduled for their "Essentials of Tuscan Cooking" class this weekend. Maybe she'll make a cameo for old times sake!

More recently Anne has kicked off her own show, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, where she reveals the concise, easy-to-master techniques of a top level chef by showcasing professional secrets to preparing food that is creative and full of flavor (but never too frou-frou or scary -- thats why we love her, she's real!) You can tune into her show on Saturdays at 10:30am EST onFood Network.

October 21, 2010

2009 Soave Re Midas

A new wine is set to hit shelves in the United States next week and I was privvied to sampling it before everyone else does (god bless my Italian counterparts)!

Soave Re Midas is a great new, everyday wine that fully expresses the Veneto region's stereotypical luscious fruit flavors. Made of 100% indigenous Garganega grapes this light-bodied wine boasts a clear yellow color with hints of gold and a combination of white blossoms and lemon on the nose. When you take a sip, you're transported back to the summer months with bright citrus notes and a toasted almond finish .

It actually reminded me of a California Chardonnay in some ways, as it was very crisp and combined earth and fruit.

Cost: $9.99/bottle
Where to Buy: Columbus Circle Wines

October 20, 2010

De-LUSH-ious Boxed Wine: Duca White & Red

Four words that can often make a grown man or woman cringe... wine-in-a-box. And that's because for a while, the little budget cardboard un-delights have burned bridges with many palates (and stomachs) and likely even made a few college kids black out from too many wine stands (I'm not discounting myself in this demographic).

But truth be told, boxed wines are steadily making a comeback. In fact, sales value of boxed wines have increased by 46% and volume by 27% - that's pretty substantial! After all, boxed wines...
  • Have a longer shelf life after opening -- the tap-off design helps lock out air and prevent the wine from aging as rapidly as re-corking your bottle. You usually have a bout 4-6 weeks before the wine will go bad!
  • Are a bargain buy -- it's all about economical consumption and boxed wine typically holds the net of four (750mL) bottles worth of vino, or the comparable of about 2o glasses of wine. And in our book, the more, the merrier... especially when it doesn't pinch our wallet.
  • Use environmentally-friendly packaging -- we love smaller carbon footprints!
Enter Duca del Frassino, who has created two fabulous boxed wines - a white and a red - that leaves drinkers (and Kathy Lee & Hoda) thinking "inside the box" for a whopping value of just $19.99!

Duca White
Made From: 80% Garganega, 20% Pinot Grigio
Tasting Notes: Very light straw color and a hint of white flowers on the nost, this easy-to-drink white wine is made mostly of the Garganega grape which is indigenous to the Soave region. On the palate, a light fruit and citrus taste with a crisp but also somewhat juicy finish.
Pair With: Sip it as an apertif or pair it with lighter dishes like seafood or even salad!

Duca Red
Made From: 80% Cabernet, 20% Corvina
Tasting Notes: High quality blend the offers a deep purple color and opens with aromatic red cherry aromas and dark fruits on the palate.
Pair With: Goes great with meat dishes, Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese. For a predominately Cab wine, this glass it surprisingly balanced enough to drink on its own too!

October 15, 2010

Follow Friday: Wineries Uncorking Social Media

Wining + blogging = my passion, so naturally I'm a social media-lite who has to follow all the wineries out there to keep up on what's going on, what's good, what to avoid, etc. And as the digital wino world continues to expand (thank goodness it is!) we're hoping you'll expand with us. Here are a few more #FollowFridays for the week to make sure your wining vicariously in your "digital" life:

October 13, 2010

Harvest Leaves are a'falling!

How 'bout a nice "Hump Day" treat? Check out this de-lush-ious sparkling wine cocktail perfect for the fall season. Serve it up at Halloween, Thanksgiving or even self-serve post-long-day-at-office!

By Eryn Reece, New York City
Add vodka, ginger liqueur and allspice dram to cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a flute. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with orange zest.

Yields: 1 drink
Ideal Serving Glass: Flute

October 12, 2010

Party tips from Top Chef: Just Dessert's Dannielle Kyrillos

With monthly #WineDown events, you know by now that party planning is totally my shtick (is that even a real world?) So naturally when I was introduced last week to Dannielle Kyrillos, judge on Top Chef: Just Desserts and Editor-at- Large for DailyCandy, I was elated to get the best-of-the-best tips from her. Here are some of the great suggestions she offered me to share with each of you:

For a Dinner Party
  • Keep it simple - plan your menu in advanced so you aren't rushing around
  • Organize a smaller affair that is easier to manage - sometimes smaller affairs are more intimate and fun
  • Set your table so your guests have enough room to eat and mingle. Decorate the table with seasonal looks such as golden apples or pumpkins in a clear vase, or incorporate seasonal florals
  • Use name games and ice breakers for your guests so they can get to know one another - encourage them to share the weirdest job they've ever had or their favorite spot in the world
For a Romantic Dinner for Two:
  • Ambiance is everything - candles, flowers, and dark linens are all ways to create a romantic feel
  • Don't forget that chocolate is an aphrodisiac, which is always an added bonus!
For Larger Cocktail Parties (cough, cough, #WineDowns)
  • Avoid making it complicated - utilize areas of the home with food stations as opposed to serving buffet style
  • Welcoming guests with cocktails is a great way to set the vibe for the party
  • Use a theme such as "Living the Sweet Life" where you serve sweet and savory dishes alongside signature cocktails
Bring on #WineDown Fall and Christmakah!!

October 11, 2010

September #WineDown Rewind

September #WineDown came and went much like the summer we see shifting rapidly right now to fall (I swear it dropped 20 degrees overnight!) With the changing of season also comes a changing in wine selections, at least for me. I tend to enjoy the light, crisp wines for summer months and more tannin-infused, dry wines in the winter. But hey, to each his own, which is why my BFF's over at St. Supery were kind enough to sponsor our little shindig so I could share the beauty of their wines, all different styles, will all of the wino-wannabes joining me in the festivities.

And boy were they glad they joined! We attempted a progressive tasting over the course of the evening, and it went a lil' something like this:

2009 St. Supery Rose -- a perfect selection for end of summer, as its light and doesn't require a meal to accompany it. On the nose, pomegranate and rose hips. On the palate, light but crisp citrus and raspberry flavors with a dull sweetness that finishes on the tongue. Great character and like beautiful pink color! Cost: $18/bottle

2009 Sauvignon Blanc Dollarhide -- by far one of my favorite varietals for summer months as sauvignon blanc tends to offer exquisite citrus flavors, as does this particular one. On the nose, grapfruit, honeysuckle and nectarines. On the palate, rich grapefruit and some floral notes. Cost: $37/bottle

2006 St. Supery Merlot -- perfect, youthful selection for the coming months, as this wine is accented with all the ingredients of Fall - cinnamon, clove and nutmeg! On the palate, you'll experience currant and fig. $50/bottle.

2005 Rutherford St. Supery Cabernet Sauvignon -- I cannot wait to curl up to a fire come winter time with this love. Perhaps my favorite St Supery wine, this cab is luxorious. On the nose, dark fruits like cherry and plum. On the palate, a blend of fruit and spice where black cherry meets licorice. Cost: $35/bottle.

To purchase any (or all!) of these wines, check out the Wine Shop at St. Supery.